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Common Website Design Mistakes

Updated: Jul 9

Here are some common mistakes that beginners make when designing their websites: Getting ahead of the game.

Many people get so excited about the design part of their website that they don’t take the necessary preparation to make a truly effective website. Design should only take place after you’ve defined your goals, done your market research (for business websites), chosen a domain name, and found a web hosting service. Going crazy with color It’s great fun to experiment with color and patterns, but it’s important to know what works the best for your website goals. If the purpose of your website is anything other than for your own pure enjoyment, then you want other people to like your design. Therefore, it really doesn’t matter what you think looks good as long as the design works to appeal to your users. Overlooking the planning stage A lot of beginning website designers go straight to the design of individual web pages with nothing but a picture in their heads of what their website will look like. It is important, though, to plan out the structure and layout of your website before you dive in. Having a plan on paper will make your design process much easier. Making a template after you’ve begun designing individual pages If you design a bunch of web pages first, it could be a lot of trouble to go back later to change a design element in each page. Try creating a CSS template to achieve a consistent look throughout your entire website, then begin designing each page. Design is too complex Your website will not appeal to your users unless it is simple and straight-forward. Especially when you are just beginning in web design, don’t try to do everything at once. Make a simple foundation for your website and you can always add bells and whistles later. Failing to test everything Most people assume that design is largely a personal preference thing, and it is. But that doesn’t mean that you just choose whatever design looks good to you and leave it at that. Keep your audience in mind when you’re designing your initial website. Once you’ve collected data for a significant period of time, then go ahead and test certain design elements. Change one thing at a time and track your results for everything. Go with what the numbers tell you what works.

Too Much or Too Little When creating a successful website, you must always keep in mind what your visitor wants. Keeping them happy and entertained is going to determine how much text to put on your website. Here are some general rules of thumb for the amount of text for your type of website: The Information-Packed Website If information is what your customer has come seeking, (i.e. a blog, a how-to site, etc.) then that’s what you give them. However, this does not mean that you need a great deal of text on the home page of your website. You can provide a great deal of information without scaring off your visitor with a thesis-length welcome statement. Offer them information, little by little. Create headlines and short paragraphs on your home page that give them a taste of the information they’re looking for. Tease them. Include a link to read more at the bottom of your paragraph. If they truly want more, they can click and read the entire article on that topic. This is good for search engine optimization as well, if you do it correctly and link using your target keywords. Generally, the deeper your visitors go into your website, the more they are interested, and the high ranking your website will achieve with the search engines. The Store If your website is your online store, then you need to be careful about how much and how little text you display. Give your customers a few sentences at a time. Think of it as a magazine that sits on a shelf at the checkout stand. Your visitor will pick it up and thumb through it, and possibly purchase it, if your cover is designed correctly. If there is too much text on your cover (i.e., your homepage) then you will lose a potential sale. Pictures are a must for selling most tangible – and even many tangible – items. Use a balance of eye-catching pictures and clever, descriptive text for your online store website. The Social Networking Site When trying to determine how much text to put on your social networking site, compare it to an email forward: If you open the forwarded email and begin reading, it is at that point that stop and think to yourself, “I don’t care what the punch line is; I’ve wasted too many seconds of my life reading this email.” Whatever the amount of text you’ve read at that exact breaking point is about three times the ideal amount for your social networking site. Hint: People visit your social networking site to do three things. First, to be amused. Second, to catch up with your latest life happenings. Third, to check out what you have to offer (if you are a business or organization). You must keep their attention for each of these purposes. When in Doubt, Test If you’re unsure as to what is too much or too little text for your website, then test it. Create two versions of the same page with the same purpose, one with lengthy text and one with shorter text. Track your results to see which one outperforms the other.

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